Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
WILLIAM JOHNSTONE - Scotland has furnished to the United States many of its best citizens, and of those who have located in Sangamon county none stand higher in public esteem than William Johnstone, whose home is on section 25, Williams township. He dates his residence here from December, 1851, and as an agriculturist he has been actively identified with the improvement and development of the county.
Mr. Johnstone was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, March 3, 1838, a son of John and Mary (Nicholson) Johnstone, also natives of Scotland, where the mother died about 1842. The father was born in Dumfriesshire in 1798 and continued to make his home there until 1851, which year witnessed his emigration to America. The family took passage on a sailing vessel at Liverpool, and after five weeks and three days spent upon the Atlantic landed in New Orleans, whence they made their way up the Mississippi river to Naples, Illinois. Their destination, however, was Sangamon county, where they joined some Scotch friends, and the following spring Mr. Johnstone purchased a farm of two hundred and forty acres in Williams township, where his son now resides. He improved the place and with the assistance of his sons operated it for some years. He died about 1872, honored and respected by all who knew him. In his family were eight children.
William Johnstone spent the first thirteen years of his life in his native land and his primary education was obtained in its public schools. After coming to the United States he became a student in the old college at Springfield, where he completed his education. He early became familiar with all the duties which fall to the lot of the agriculturist, and after the death of his father he and his brother John purchased the interests of the other heirs in the old home farm, to which they added until they had three hundred and twenty-three acres of very valuable farming land. They also owned one hundred and sixty acres in Benton county, Missouri, and our subject still has a two-thirds interest in the same. His brother is now deceased, and his wife and family occupy the farm. Upon his place in Williams township our subject has erected good buildings and has made many other improvements which add greatly to its value and attractive appearance.
On the 18th of January, 1864, in this county, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Johnstone and Miss Louise Marshall, a native of Ross county, Ohio. Her father, William Marshal, was born, reared and married in England, and on coming to this country first located in Pickaway county, Ohio, and later in Ross county, that state. His first wife died and he was again married in Chillicothe, Ohio, his second union being with Miss Nancy Ann Brown, who was of German descent and was the mother of Mrs. Johnstone. About 1856 Mr. Marshall removed to Illinois, and after spending three years in Macon county became a resident of Sangamon county. Mr. and Mrs. Johnstone have eight children, namely: John, who is married and follows farming on the home place; James, also at home; Mary N., wife of H. V. Hendricks, a butcher of Barclay; Maggie, wife of George Sprouse, of Williams township; David, who is clerking in Barclay; William, Lydia and Sarah, all three at home.
By his ballot Mr. Johnstone supports the men and measures of the Democratic party, as did his father before him, and cast his first vote for Stephen A. Douglas in 1860. At local elections, however, he supports the men whom he believes best qualified for office, regardless of party ties. He has served as commissioner of highways and was a member of the school board for fifteen years, having ever taken an active interest in educational affairs. He was reared in the faith of the Presbyterian church, while his wife was reared a Methodist. They are widely and favorably known in the community where they have so long made their home, and it is safe to say that none are held in higher regard in Williams township than Mr. and Mrs. Johnston.